Bioplastics point the way to an environmentally sustainable, green future

Getting a grip on climate change depends on shifting from CO2-emitting fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. When that happens, where will we get all the plastic we need for, well, nearly everything?

Most plastics today come from petroleum. About three-quarters of every barrel of oil goes to make gasoline, diesel and jet fuel; the remaining quarter goes to other products, including plastic. Making it from petroleum is doubly problematic as it helps perpetuate our global dependence on fossil energy and it continues the long-term environmental degradation caused by synthetic plastics, which can take several hundred years to break down into simpler materials.